Online Support: Don’t Let an Autism Diagnosis Hold You Back

One of the best methods to encourage individuals who might be feeling discouraged about a developmental disability is to show them examples of others who accomplished great things even with the same diagnosis. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has a wide range of symptoms for each child, and the treatment, goals, and opportunities can vary considerably, depending on the symptoms. While some children and young adults have issues with communication or socialization, others might have more problems with behavior. Learning how to manage symptoms and work toward positive goals can take time and consistent practice. However, it is encouraging to see how notable individuals have used their symptoms to their advantage. Online support with the All Friends Network (AFN) Live Link Network application can help children and teens to find autistic friends who share similar interests. Programs designed to encourage friendship and autism spectrum disorder can work to make beneficial changes for everyone involved.

Famous People in History

While an official diagnosis of autism is impossible for individuals who lived many years before us, the experts can interpret certain symptoms that reveal they may have had developmental disabilities. One shining example that is used frequently is the well-known genius, Albert Einstein. While it is recognized that high intelligence is often a hallmark of certain types of autism, one specialist from the prestigious Cambridge University believes that Einstein displayed many signs of Asperger syndrome. Other famous individuals on his list of those he thinks would have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder include George Orwell, Isaac Newton, H.G. Wells, Beethoven, Mozart, and Hans Christian Andersen.

In modern times we see many highly regarded and intelligent individuals who fall into the autism spectrum. Temple Grandin works as a professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University and is the author of several books. The titles reflect her unique way of looking at the world due to her ASD symptoms. She did not begin speaking until she was almost four years old, and, similar to others at that time, the only recommended treatment was medication and institutionalization. Her parents chose not to accept that course of action, and she ultimately became a prominent speaker on autism and animal behavior. Her books are titled “Thinking in Pictures” and “The Way I See It.”

Comedians and Actors

A successful entertainer often draws on their own background, life story, or interests when honing their craft. Those who grow up with certain symptoms of ASD have the ability to use them to their advantage as well. Comedic actor and musician Dan Aykroyd was diagnosed in the 1980s with Asperger syndrome after a lifetime of overcoming challenges due to his symptoms. He was expelled from two schools as a child and had an ongoing obsession with ghosts and law enforcement, to which he credits as an inspiration for the movie Ghostbusters.

Sir Anthony Hopkins, an Oscar award-winning actor, was also diagnosed with Asperger syndrome later in life. He frequently discusses his issues with learning differences, obsessive thinking, and difficulty maintaining friendships – all of which still impact him today. However, he credits ASD with helping him to view people differently and deconstruct a character, which contributes significantly to his acting success.

Another actor, Daryl Hannah, was diagnosed with autism as a child. She has spoken freely about what she calls her “debilitating shyness,” which continued as fear of fame in adulthood. Despite all this, she overcame her symptoms and focused on acting, which reflects her love of movies. Due to misunderstandings and lack of knowledge about autism when she was first diagnosed, doctors recommended that she be put on medication and institutionalized. Her mother refused this treatment and instead helped her daughter to get into acting as a way of connecting with the world.

Autistic Friends and Online Support

Learning the skills of friendship and autism should go hand in hand. Learning how to make and retain relationships with other autistic friends is a great way to get started. The online support, training videos, and programs planned for the AFN Live Link Network are designed to help kids and teens to overcome social and communication barriers. If you would like to learn more about All Friends Network or would like to help a child or teen in your life learn how to make and keep friendships, contact our team right away. You can sign up for updates and information about the online support and programs available or reach out to learn what is currently available. Give us a call at 941-587-7172 or email us at